Tag Archives: rebellion

Tears of the Sun – Review

18 Sep

It’s always an exciting feeling to finally get around to watching a movie you’ve been trying to watch for years. I remember seeing the trailer for Tears of the Sun years ago when I was younger and first getting into war movies. I thought it looked excellent and I really wanted to see it, but never actually got a chance to. Now, 14 years after the movie was first released, I’ve gotten around to seeing it. I had high expectations going into it since it’s been a recurring thought to me for years and also the fact that it’s helmed by Antoine Fuqua. Unfortunately, these expectations were nowhere near met. Tears of the Sun does have its surprises and some truly gripping scenes, but it too often falls into the clichés of the genre which really just leaves it as a middle of the road war drama.

After a coup leads to a rebel uprising that results in the murder of the Nigerian president and his family, violence inevitably erupts throughout the entire region. U.S. armed forces are deployed off the coast, including a team led by Lt. A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis). After completing a mission, the lieutenant and his team are sent back into the hot zone Captain Bill Rhodes (Tom Skerritt) to extract Dr. Lean Kendricks (Monica Bellucci), an American citizen running a mission and hospital in the middle of the conflict. Nothing in Waters’ orders does it say for him to also extract the able bodied Nigerians staying at the mission, and at first he isn’t planning on it. After seeing a particularly brutal massacre, however, Waters decides to go against orders and lead both Kendricks and the civilians from the mission to the Cameroon border. With rebels hot on their tails, Waters and his team have to keep everyone moving as fast as they can, but a conflict with the rebels chasing them eventually becomes inevitable.

Tears of the the Sun is an extremely muddy movie and that’s what really holds it down. It starts off interesting enough, but once Waters, Kendricks, and everyone else start their journey through the jungle, it just turns into a mess. There’s scene after scene after scene after scene of just everyone hiking through various locations with an attempt to progress the drama. Unfortunately, the characters are so dull that this drama isn’t anything special and just gets lost in the uninspired performances and gray cinematography. There’s also plenty of lines of dialogue that I said before the character even had a chance to say them because this movie is loaded with your standard war clichés. A change of location might have changed things up after a while, but every scene looks almost exactly the same it felt like everyone was just walking in circles. This could’ve been an interesting element in the movie, how the immense jungle can cause confusion, but no.

Like I said before, the characters in Tears of the Sun are just dull. There’s very little to say about them because most of them lacked individual personalities. The men in Waters’ team were all pretty much the same person. They were all the hardened soldier that still had the wit to crack a joke from time to time. None of them stood out and anyone of them could delivered any line. When things get hectic during the climax and their lives are in danger, I didn’t really care because none of them really made me care about them. The same can be said about Willis’ character. His performance is so one note that it was hard to connect with him in the least. This role could have been played by anyone and he was just a boring protagonist. The only person that really stands out is Monica Bellucci who gives a very heartfelt and honest performance as Dr. Kendricks. She’s one of the only people who actually seems to be trying.

There are a few moments that do stick out in the otherwise muddled plot. The beginning was interesting and did pull me in to the setting easily enough. There’s a gut wrenching scene in the middle of the movie that shows just how truly horrible the situation is during this conflict and the prices that people trying to live their lives are paying because of it. The scene actually got me back with the movie and created a whole new layer of drama and suspense, but once the same old hiking through the woods started up again I began to drift once more. The climax is less than spectacular, but the very end of the movie features a scene of Willis actually acting like he wants to be in this movie. It’s a satisfying ending that wraps everything up well, but it certainly doesn’t make up for the rest of the movie.

Tears of the Sun is a watchable movie, but that’s all I’m really going to say about it. Besides Bellucci, the performances are one note, the cinematography is boring, and the constant walking through the jungle with characters I didn’t care about just became boring after a while. There are a few scenes that stick out, but they really are few and far between. Tears of the Sun is reminiscent of other movies that are just done better, while this one if meant to live in the realm of mediocrity. This isn’t a necessary movie nor is it one that will be remembered. It isn’t exactly bad, but there just isn’t too much to say about it.

Final Grade: C

Advertisements

The Graduate – Review

16 May

Ever since I got to college, a lot of time has been spent in class studying The Graduate, so it was only a matter of time before I actually got to reviewing it. To me, this movie is a classic and is full of memorable scenes that are used to convey the emotions that Benjamin feels. This is a very important movie, and I’m glad I’m finally reviewing it.

Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has finally graduated college with multiple awards and honorable mentions. Now that he’s about to enter the real world, he finds himself to be very nervous about his future. This anxiety is relieved when he enters into an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the older wife of his father’s partner at their law firm. This affair continues of requite some time until Benjamin is forced to take Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross), out, despite Mrs. Robinson’s protestations. Benjamin soon falls in love with Elaine and must unravel himself from the lies that he has caused from his affair in order to be with the one he loves.

Dustin Hoffman gives a fantastic performance that jump started his career and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross were also nominated, along with the cinematographer, producer, and writer. The director, Mike Nichols, won the Academy Award for Best Director, however. Bancroft and Hoffman have incredibly awkward chemistry that almost makes some of their scenes hard to watch. This isn’t a bad thing, however, because it gives the characters a massive amount of depth. All of the character are deep, but Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson are very believable.

Technically speaking, The Graduate is a milestone. The editing and different uses of camera lenses give each scene a unique feel. For example, the use of a telephoto lens as Benjamin is running towards a church to stop a wedding makes it feel like Benjamin isn’t gaining any distance, even though he is running really fast. The cinematography also looks fantastic, with lighting that perfectly mimics the mood of the scene.

A really effective part of The Graduate is how much Benjamin’s feelings of anxiety resonate with me, personally. The future is a scary thing, but it is never made into an impossibility. Benjamin spends the entire movie making really quick decisions, which is a very bad idea if you want to be successful in life. The last shot of the movie is exceptionally subtle at saying that this is not the end of Benjamin’s story, and we’ll never know if he goes on to live a happy life.

It is said that this film perfectly captures and explores the theme of rebellious youth in the 1960s. For that time period it was probably true, but nowadays that theme is a bit played out and not very relevant in this case. That’s why the theme of the mysteries and fears of the future are what really support the story. It’s something everyone can relate to, which makes this movie very easy to understand.

The Graduate is a classic in every sense of the word. This will be a film that will be relevant for many years to come because of its themes and performances. The techniques use to make this film were new and exciting at the time and are still being used today, which makes The Graduate exceptional in every aspect. Even the soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel is something to enjoy. If you haven’t seen this yet, you are really missing out on one of the greatest movies ever made.